Personal Trainer Tries Orangetheory Fitness: Honest Review

Hey. Hi. Hello!

I just finished watching the most recent episode of This Is Us so I’m 100% not emtionally stable right now, but this blog post must be written so onward we go!

Going into 2019 I told myself I was going to try out new workouts to Make Working Out Fun Again (don’t hate me!). That means trying out new workout programs and exercise classes in hopes of debunking the hype around them, but also maybe falling in love along the way (with the classes, not with someone because that’s not where I’m at in life).

For the last four years or so, I’ve heard all this talk about Orangetheory Fitness. Most of my sorority sisters did it, and one of my best friends has recently hoped aboard their bandwagon and raves about it and the community. What a better place to start than a place where I had someone to talk me through and compare notes.

Before I talk about my experience, I want to tackle what exactly is OTF, and what their claims are. The barebones of it all is that it revolves around a heartrate monitor and three different stations. Basically you’ve got a heartrate monitor around your upper arm, or your wrist depending on how fancy your monitor is.

The studio itself looks like pretty much every studio out there now in that its a poorly lit room with loud music. They have a section of fancy-ass treadmills, a section of rowing machines, and a floor section with weights, TRX, and resistance bands.

Over the course of the class, which are typically 60 minutes but some are shorter, you spend time on each of the machines working through intervals. According to my OTF friends, the class I took, called Tornado, was not the usual set-up in terms of interval times, but we’ll talk more on that later.

Basically the idea behind OTF is that you want your heartrate to live in one of three zones. You have your green zone, your orange zone, and your red zone. The video below I pulled directly from their website, and talks more about the science behind their heartrate zones.

Long story short, the more time you spend in the orange and red zones, the more calories you’re burning, and the more your body is doing work. They claim that if you spend more than 20 minutes of class time in these top zones you’re body is then burning whatever aka your metabolism is heightened for 36 hours. Sounds pretty appealing right?!

Now let’s talk about my personal experience there. I was pretty nervous going in because it always sounded like a really intense workout and definitely sounded like something I wasn’t equipped for since I really don’t do a whole lot of cardio. My friend also freaked me out when she said that this class was going to be a Tornado because that just sounds scary in itself.

The class was at 9:15, but they request you be there 30 minutes early if it’s your first class so you can do your intro. So, I haul my ass out of bed at 8:20 and hustle in the rain on over to the studio. Unlike most places where your first class is free, my class cost $20 because this is New York and nothing is free.

They have you fill out your basic health risk form so they can get to know any heart or other medical conditions you may have that could interfer with your time in the studio. They also ask if you’re pregnant, although there was a pregnant lady in my class so like people gonna do what they want.

The intro took about 15 minutes, including set-up of my heartrate and walking me through the different stations. They talk to you about the OTF method and your heartrates, and everyone that I interacted with there did a really great job of listening to my concerns and making sure I knew there were adjustments that could be made if I needed them.

My coach was supposed to be named Lauren, but instead I got a HECKA hot guy named Zack, so thank god for that. Hot guys always help keep me motivated. His music selection was subpar, but his face was great so we’ll look past that.

We started on the treadmill, doing 5 minutes or so of work there. You have three different speeds on the treadmill. Your base, which should put you in your green heartrate zone, your push, and your all out. The treadmills have recommendedations of your speeds based on your level of experience with running. I did 4.0 mph for my base, 7.0 mph for my push, and 10 mph for my all-out.

After the treadmill, you move to the weights. This is the place where I was the most underwhelmed. They give you a series of exercises that you have some time to complete 2 rounds of. The time limit for everything this class was 6 minutes. 6 minutes to complete 2 rounds of easy exercise? Yeah that’s too easy.

After the first round of weights stuff, we had a 500m row for time. We did it once at the start and once at the very end of class. I got 1:51 first and then 1:56 for my second row. I felt like I was dying both times but hey, I survived.

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At the end of class, they send you an email with your stats (pictured above), showing you how many “points” you earned, based on how much time you spent in each zone. You also get a count of your calories burned, and your average heart rates. During class you only see your percentage of your max heartrate that you’re at, not your total, so it was interesting to see where I placed in that sense at the end.

They display your heartrates on the board during class, but since I wasn’t wearing my glasses I couldn’t see them so well. I just know that I consistently had the highest of anyone, and spent the most time in the red zone. I’m not surprised by this because I tend to have a naturally higher heartrate, but I never felt specifically light-headed or terrible at all.

I’m sure by now this is a lot to take in, so I’ll wrap it up quickly. Overall I REALLY liked this class. Yes I was underwhelmed by the weights and the music selection, but I felt great during and after. My heartrate stayed elevated for 24 hours after, but I didn’t feel any unusal soreness. Definitely think it’s one of the few classes that lives up to the hype, and maybe I’ll be joining this cult, too!

Until Next Time!




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